Market housing surges ahead of social housing construction in the DTES (updated!)

This article is updated from the previous version printed in the March CCAP Newsletter to add the newly announced plan for 81 more condo units on the north-west corner of Main and Keefer. All signs are that the gap will continue to widen.

In 2005 the Downtown Eastside Housing Plan said that privately owned housing like condos should be built in the DTES at about the same rate as social housing. City Council adopted this plan as official policy.  The Carnegie Community Action Project has just done a study of what has actually been built in the Downtown Eastside since 2005, and what is planned.  If you look at the rate of change between 2005 and 2015, it is about 3 privately owned units for every one social housing unit for single people.

If you look just at what is planned that will probably be open for residents after 2014, the ratio is an astounding 25 to 1!    Clearly the Downtown Eastside Housing Plan is not being implemented!  CCAP wants the city to stop market housing until new self contained social housing to replace hotel SROs is available for people on welfare, disability and basic pension incomes.  If this doesn’t happen more and more SRO residents will be displaced from their neighbourhood by high rents and closures.  ~ JS

Notes:  I am counting only welfare rate social housing and not all social housing because the DTES Housing Plan constantly refers to replacing SROs 1 for 1 with self contained social housing for singles and residents of the SROs. In 2005, when the Housing Plan was adopted, these residents were primarily low income people relying on welfare, disability and basic senior’s pension for their income.

I’m not counting all the social housing proposed for 955 E Hastings because some of it is for families; likewise, I’m not counting the 15-20 units proposed for above the library cause that is for families. CCAP likes the idea of family housing in the DTES but this paper if focusing on the Housing Plan’s goal to replace SROs 1 for 1 with self contained social housing.